From the microcomputers that control car engines to the washing machines we use in our homes – the design of innovative and effective control and instrumentation systems is an essential part of what makes the technology present all around us tick.

Digital control systems applied to mechanical technologies and systems can do things, which would not be possible without the use of the computer, and engineers who work in this area use advanced mathematics capable of tackling the complex challenges of this field. Such methods are needed to design electronic systems, like the avionics that can land an aircraft automatically or the microcontroller that can make a robot walk.

Qualified engineers in this area of focus have a world of opportunities available to them; they emerge possessing the skills and knowledge employers are looking for in many sectors, including in the motor vehicle manufacturing, aerospace, petrochemical and mineral extraction industries. The skills to optimise system productivity, reliability and safety are in demand by companies that manufacture and supply the equipment and by those who use it.

At UCT, the Department of Electrical Engineering provides students with an opportunity to begin to move into this exciting field of engineering from undergraduate level. The undergraduate courses focus on linear time-invariant continuous and digital input-output systems as well as on an introduction to electro-mechanical engineering.

At postgraduate level, the Control Engineering Laboratory focuses on the design of advanced control laws for large interconnected industrial plants.